Shanghai, the bustling metropolis of China, is known for its towering skyscrapers, historical landmarks, and vibrant culture. But one of the best things about Shanghai is its food scene. With a mix of local Chinese delicacies and international cuisine, Shanghai is a food lover’s paradise. In this article, we’ll be exploring the best restaurants in Shanghai, from local favorites to international cuisine. Whether you’re a tourist or a local, this guide will help you discover the best culinary hotspots in the city.
Discovering the Best Restaurants in Shanghai: From Local Favorites to International Cuisine
Local Chinese Delicacies
Shanghai is famous for its local delicacies, which have been perfected over centuries. Here are some of the best local Chinese restaurants in the city:
Peking Duck is one of China’s most famous dishes, and Quanjude is one of Beijing’s most famous restaurants for it. Established in 1864, Quanjude has been serving up its deliciously roasted Peking duck for generations. The duck is cooked in a wood-fired oven until the skin is crispy and the meat is juicy, and it’s served with pancakes, scallions, and a sweet bean sauce.
Din Tai Fung (鼎泰豐)
Originating in Taiwan, Din Tai Fung is now a global chain with locations across Asia, Europe, and the US. Their signature dish is the Xiaolongbao, a steamed dumpling filled with pork and a small amount of soup. The dumplings are delicate and delicious, and Din Tai Fung has become famous for their precise and consistent preparation.
Hai Di Lao (海底捞)
Hot pot is a popular Chinese dish that involves cooking a variety of meats, vegetables, and other ingredients in a simmering pot of broth at the table. Hai Di Lao is a hot pot restaurant chain that has become famous for its excellent service and attention to detail. They offer a wide variety of ingredients to cook in the hot pot, as well as a range of dipping sauces and other accompaniments.
Sichuan Impression (川人食堂)
Sichuan cuisine is known for its bold and spicy flavors, and Sichuan Impression is one of the best places to try it. Their Kung Pao Chicken is a standout dish, featuring diced chicken, peanuts, vegetables, and chili peppers, all stir-fried together with a spicy sauce. They also offer a range of other Sichuan specialties, such as Mapo Tofu and Chongqing Spicy Chicken.
Jia Tang Bao (佳家汤包)
Jia Tang Bao is a small, unassuming dumpling shop in Shanghai that has gained a reputation as one of the best places to try Xiaolongbao. Their dumplings are made fresh daily, and the pork filling is juicy and flavorful. They don’t have a large menu, but what they do offer is consistently delicious, and the prices are very reasonable. Be prepared to queue though, as this tiny restaurant is always packed.
Shanghai is also home to a thriving international food scene, with restaurants serving dishes from all around the world. Here are some of the best international restaurants in the city:
Mr & Mrs. Bund
This French-inspired restaurant, helmed by acclaimed chef Paul Pairet, offers creative, contemporary takes on classic French dishes. The menu includes dishes such as steak tartare, foie gras, and escargots, as well as a range of cocktails and desserts.
This Yunnanese restaurant serves delicious and authentic cuisine from China’s southwestern Yunnan province. The menu includes dishes such as spicy stir-fried pork with chilies and lemongrass and grilled lamb skewers with cumin and mint.
This Spanish restaurant is a favorite among ex-pats and locals alike, offering a range of delicious tapas and other Spanish specialties. The menu includes dishes such as paella, chorizo, and croquettes, as well as a wide selection of Spanish wines and cocktails.
This Italian restaurant, led by celebrity chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, offers a range of rustic Italian dishes using locally-sourced ingredients. The menu includes dishes such as wood-fired pizzas, homemade pasta, and grilled meats, as well as a selection of Italian wines and cocktails.
Napa Wine Bar & Kitchen
This Californian-inspired restaurant offers a range of modern American dishes and a selection of over 400 different wines. The menu includes dishes such as seared scallops with avocado salsa, roasted chicken with truffle butter, and a range of vegetarian options. The restaurant also hosts regular wine-tasting events and offers a great outdoor terrace for al fresco dining.
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What type of local Chinese delicacies can I expect to find in Shanghai restaurants?
Shanghai is famous for its xiaolongbao, a type of steamed dumpling filled with pork and soup. You can also find dishes like hairy crab, stinky tofu, and sheng jian bao, which are pan-fried pork buns.
Are there any vegetarian or vegan restaurants in Shanghai?
Yes, many vegetarian and vegan restaurants in Shanghai serve up delicious plant-based dishes. Some popular options include Wujie on the Bund, which offers a range of organic vegan dishes, and Vegetarian Lifestyle, which serves up traditional Chinese vegetarian cuisine.
What is the dress code for restaurants in Shanghai?
The dress code for restaurants in Shanghai varies depending on the restaurant. Some fine-dining restaurants may have a dress code, but most casual and mid-range restaurants do not. It’s always a good idea to check with the restaurant beforehand if you’re unsure.
Do I need to make a reservation at restaurants in Shanghai?
It’s always a good idea to make a reservation at popular restaurants in Shanghai, especially during peak dining hours. You can usually make a reservation online or by phone.
What is the tipping culture like in Shanghai restaurants?
Tipping is not expected in Shanghai restaurants, as a service charge is usually included in the bill. However, if you receive exceptional service, it’s always appreciated to leave a small tip as a gesture of gratitude.
Whether you’re a foodie or just looking for a good meal, Shanghai has something for everyone. From local Chinese delicacies to international cuisine, the city is home to some of the best restaurants in the world. So, what are you waiting for? Discover the best restaurants in Shanghai today and treat your taste buds to a culinary adventure.